A small scale local free community festival that celebrates all things Gilwern (and surrounding areas). Gilfest focuses on promoting local traders and activities to celebrate things that have originated from the villages. There is live local music of as many genres as we can book, a wide range of stalls and free children’s activities. The festival also promotes Gilwern Roots green sustainable agenda with a disposable plastic free policy for all traders and we use reusable glasses and cups in our bar and café. Gilfest aims to be a totally inclusive festival and create a space where the village can meet each other and enjoy a great community facility - our local park.
The first Gilfest appeared in 2017 under the name Picnic in the Park, a family event with bubbles and blankets where 50 people came to join in. In 2018 Gilwern Roots were helped by Costains with a stage and generator. The bands arrived and over 700 people came to join in with the activies, stalls, food and live music.
Gilfest 2019 was held on Sunday 1st September 2019 and was a great success. Over 1000 local residents came out to enjoy entertainment, food, drink and local stalls in Gilwern’s second annual plastic free community event for all. The event was accessible for all ages and brought the community together to celebrate all that the village has to offer. Local residents also had the opportunity to have a say on future local needs. Local bands performed throughout the day, including Broadside, Ronnie Care, Caitlin Mae, DJ Joe, Snow on the Mountain, Soldiers of Monochrome, Gareth and Sara and Bus Pass. Gilwern Primary School dancers treated us to one of their performances.
Over 20 stall holders attended, including a mix of local crafts, businesses and charities and a range of activities were provided for children and adults including archery, climbing wall, crate stacking and other family games. There was also a chance to find out more about local organisations such as the Scouts, WI, Llanelly Community Council and U3A.
We were extremely pleased to see that Gilfest 2019 made front page news in the local newspaper, the Abergavenny Chronicle, with a further 3 pages of coverage inside.
2020 began with high hopes for another festival, but, along with the rest of the world, Gifest had to lock itself down. The group refocused and bought the village "Virtual Gilfest" in 2020, with bands performing in covid secure premises and streaming live online across the world and local businesses stepping up to provide offers and deliveries. The high street was decorated and the scarecrow festival was born. The scarecrows were mapped and residents were able to use this to walk the villages both in 2020 (partial lockdown) and in 2021 with much less restriction. Hard work but also the group was so proud to be able to do something considering the situation presented to us.
2022 brings with it less restictions and Gilfest organising is on again! We will be looking for volunteers for setting up, putting down, helping run the bar and general support for stall holders and looking after the bands. The form will be posted here once updated with the jobs, but if you want to contact us now please email email@example.com and follow us on Facebook for event news and updates.